Dr Kate Sutherland

Dr Kate Sutherland



Kate Sutherland in a laboratory



BSc (Hons) PhD Melbourne

Laboratory Head

Our laboratory focuses on lung cancer. Late detection of this cancer, and resistance to current anti-cancer therapies, have contributed to lung cancer being the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.

Lung cancer research is limited by a lack of appropriate laboratory models in which to conduct preclinical studies. Generating preclinical lung cancer models is an important focus of our research. We are using these models to gain a better understanding of how lung cancer initiates, progresses and metastasises.

Research interest

We are interested in the development of novel models of lung cancer that closely resemble human lung cancer. Genetic alterations found in human lung cancer patients can be replicated in our model using Cre-loxP recombination technology. This enables us to switch oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes specifically in lung epithelial cells.

Our current efforts are directed towards generating models of lung squamous cell cancer, the second most common type of lung cancer. These will serve as pre-clinical models for testing new therapeutic drug combinations in the treatment of this lung cancer subtype.

Another important question in our research is the role of the cell-of-origin of lung squamous cell cancers. To address this question we have the ability to activate or inactivate oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes specifically in Clara cells, alveolar type 2 cells, neuroendocrine cells and basal cells in our model. This is providing insights into  which cells contribute to lung carcinogenesis.

Dr Kate Sutherland in the lab

Lung Foundation Australia's Shine a Light on Lung Cancer raises awareness of the challenges and inequities faced daily by people living with lung cancer.